Samantha Hutchinson Reporter

Samantha writes on exports, Islamic finance and the business of doing business across borders. Before moving into journalism she worked in executive recruitment and public policy.

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CEO Q&A: Melinda Howes

Published 05 July 2012 05:00, Updated 05 July 2012 08:12

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What was your first job?

Data entry for a re-insurance company while studying to become an actuary.

What skills or qualities do you wish you had?

The ability to succinctly communicate to business leaders the value of having an actuary on their team. We are problem-solvers who bring diversity of thought and risk management to the table.

How much time do you spend at your desk?

Only two-three hours a day. My role is all about talking, listening and influencing. You can’t do that driving a desk!

How do you improve your own skill set?

Be aware of your skill gaps and work to close them.

Is the customer always right?

Yes. Our business has improved enormously since we started tracking complaints and using them to identify problems in our processes. Now we get more positive than negative feedback.

How do spend your downtime?

Walking my dog on the beach and tending my organic vegetable garden at my home in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.

Where do you do your best thinking?

On my days working from home, away from meetings and constant interruptions.

If you were PM for the day, the first thing you would do is ...

Remove the legislative roadblocks (in the way of) developing better post-retirement income products.

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